The 100th photovoltaic (PV) system in Morocco was inaugurated recently, one of the biggest projects of this kind worldwide.Frankfurt, Germany – March 31, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] Germany’s KfW bank is supporting the project on behalf of the German government with a financial contribution of €5 million (US$5.4 million). Under the project 16,000 families in rural regions are to receive PV home systems. Today these families have no access to electricity. Photovoltaic systems are very important in Morocco’s rural regions since only 40 percent of the population has access to electricity. With the traditional approach of expanding the integrated power network this situation could be improved only at a disproportionately high cost. Because of the typical settlement structure of remote rural regions, where there are many hermitages, the individual connection costs for rural consumers are usually too high. The decentralized supply concept for small PV systems is a much more economical alternative in these regions. With over 300 days of sunshine per year, climatic conditions for solar energy are ideal. Under current plans, 6200 villages with a total of 180,000 households are to be electrified with PV home systems in Morocco. The project approach is innovative for Morocco and allows strong participation of private PV firms in the installation, maintenance and repair of the systems. This is intended to ensure that the systems will work reliably over the long term. KfW said the project sets an example and paves the way for popularizing this type of electricity supply. KfW said that apart from energy conservation, the use of Renewable Energy is the most effective contribution to climate protection. In the field of solar energy, solar thermal systems offer the most economical way of power generation. Therefore, the Federal Environment Ministry supports further research on and development of technologies for high-temperature solar-thermal power generation. For this purpose the Ministry has also earmarked a total of €10.5 million (US$11.3 million) for this year and the next two years. KfW has been commissioned to handle the implementation of the research project which focuses on types of systems that can be implemented in the short and medium term in southern Europe and northern Africa, among other regions. In addition, technical discussions, seminars and special conferences are to be held in order to inform experts and the general public on the objectives and results of the research measures.